By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
Students graduating this year who dread what comes after the next two weeks of school can begin to look on the bright side. Statistics show that ACU students are finding jobs at the fastest rate in the past four years.
“This is the best job market we have seen since Sept. 11,” said Matt Boisvert, director of Career and Academic Development.
He said he can tell the market has grown based on the number of companies that want to interview on campus and from the volume of jobs they have received in the past few months.
More than 300 jobs are listed on CareerLink, a program designed to connect students to alumni seeking graduates or interns. On the Web site, students can post their r�sum�, search through the jobs listed, search employer’s profiles and conduct research on potential employers, companies and positions on an online career resource library called Vault.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department, agreed the market is growing.
“What I have seen is good,” Bacon said. “I don’t know that every single person who is seeking employment has found it yet, but I know that one senior has had multiple offers, and that’s usually an indication that there are jobs out there.”
Dr. David Wray, chair of the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry said the job market is expanding for students in his department.
He said after the economy slowed, churches began to “tighten up their belts” and were not hiring for as many positions. Because the economy has improved, churches are beginning to call the university to pursue recent graduates.
Wray said the undergraduates in his department generally seek either a youth and family ministry degree or go on to get a master’s degree so they can preach.
This year the department will watch 60 students graduate.
Boisvert said students seeking employment after graduation are likely to find it. He said three months after graduation, 80 percent of graduates will have found a job, and after six months the percent will have risen to about 90 percent. After one year, at least 99 percent will have found a job.
He said CareerLink allows students to find out how alumni are using their degree, and it also allows students to learn about their skills through researching their degree. CareerLink also teaches students how to write a r�sum� and a cover letter.
One way to find jobs is through networking and preparing, which CareerLink helps with, Boisvert said.
“The name of the game is networking,” Boisvert said. “Close to 80 percent of all jobs come from knowing someone. Use the resources you have here at ACU, use your faculty resources, use your alumni resources, use your family contacts, church contacts, use your friends. ACU alumni are always willing to help out students.”
Bacon agreed that networking is one of the most valuable resources.
“The best resource is people you know,” Bacon said. “Not just people you know who have the ability to hire you either. Just let people know you are looking. There are lots of other resources online, but there is no substitute for talking to everyone you know.”
Another form of networking students can use is through internships.
“All of our students are required to do internships between their junior and senior year, but most of our students do an internship between each summer,” Wray said. “I read the other day that 70-75 percent of all hires are because of internships.”
Students who have interned somewhere they liked should apply for a job because often their name will rise to the top because employers are already familiar with the character of that person, Wray said.
“I tell students not to assume that they have to go to Dallas to find a job,” Bacon said. “There are lots of other great places in the world to live. Think about all the things about where you want to live, think about proximity to your family and personal support, church and ministry options, a city with a culture you feel comfortable in or want to learn about and about commuting costs.”
Students can also look to their mentors and professors as a resource.
“At senior blessing in our department, we tell our graduates that we are no longer your teachers but your colleagues and your friends, and we are resources to you,” Wray said. “Once one graduates from here this partnership continues on.”
“If you don’t have a job, and you’re in panic mode, we can help,” Boisvert said. “We can’t guarantee you a job right away, but we are here to serve the students. We’ll help you get connected to who can give you a job.”